Making stammering irrelevant & achieving success

A man smiling for the camera

Anupam Sharma tells us how focusing on his interests rather than his speech helped him to change his mindset.

Hi, I'm Anupam. I am from Jaipur, India and currently live in the beautiful city of Munich with my wife and daughter, and I work as a technical manager with a large IT company. I have loved computers ever since I was a kid and I have been working in the industry for the past 13+ years. My work has taken me all over the world. I love to travel, exercise, meditate, meet new people, read and learn more about life each day.

At this point you might be wondering why I haven't mentioned stammering yet! Let me explain.

A constant worry

For a long time, I was obsessed with my stammer. It was always on my mind and a cause of great worry. Today, however, at the age of 36, I absolutely don't think about it as a 'problem'. I know a lot more about my life now than I did when I was 20.

I used to struggle badly with stammering. From an early age I saw it as being the only problem in my life. I always wanted to 'fit in' among people and I was afraid to look different. I often felt that I was being judged by my friends (which, in reality, wasn't true as I look back) and I was a perfectionist, which I have realised is a very poor goal in life.

I used to believe that if my stammer went away I would become invincible. I always had stammering in my mind.

I used to believe that if my stammer went away I would become invincible. I always had stammering in my mind. I felt a desperate need to understand this mysterious thing I had and how to tackle my blocks. Constantly thinking about stammering would significantly drain my energy and affect my peace of mind. Like many others, I had my share of embarrassing moments and frustration — be it introducing myself in engineering classes or attending my first office team meeting.

However, in my managerial role now I conduct and participate in a lot of office meetings every day and I am frequently required to talk to customers and colleagues, which I absolutely love doing. I feel comfortable with talking and the most important part is that I have no thoughts or worries, before or after meetings for example, about stammering whatsoever. To me, this is what I call 'fluency', i.e., the absence of noise in my mind caused by stammering.

But how did I get here?

Change of focus

I like to think that I have made my stammering irrelevant over time. I believe that there are two ways of overcoming hurdles in life – either you really solve something or you try and make it irrelevant. As I know you can't cure a stammer, I decided that it wasn't important, or worth worrying about, and this approach has worked well.

I often wonder if I still stammer that much. I say this because I have lost my mind's meter that used to judge me on my speech.

It didn't initially, but with perseverance and faith I found that it started to make a significant difference to me and my speech. I knew that my core interest was in Computer Science. Therefore, I focused on my work and academic skills. I decided to follow a basic and practical approach with my speech, like practising speaking in front of the mirror for some time. I also decided to change my mindset, enjoy life to the fullest and not at all over-analyse my speech or research stammering.

As I committed myself to my real interest and goals, stammering eventually became irrelevant to me over time. I often wonder if I still stammer that much. I say this because I have lost my mind's meter that used to judge me on my speech.

Looking back, stammering has taught me a valuable life lesson. I realised the way I handled this challenge set the trajectory of my attitude towards approaching hurdles in life. It also made me more realistic, humble, accepting and practical. Before that, when dealing with problems, which is what I used to see my stammer as, I often wanted positive results instantly. But I dropped my ego and committed myself to my real goal. Then, I could really find the answers.

I am incredibly happy to share that I have written a book called 'Saying goodbye to my fear of stuttering and achieving success'. It captures my personal journey and my learnings/findings about stammering. 

Thank you for reading my story and I wish everyone the best in life.

Read a review of Anupam's book, from one of our volunteer reviewers. You can connect with Anupam on LinkedIn

Two women in running outfits holding flags and looking at the camera
Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

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